x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Morsi's declaration is a return to dictatorship

Mohammed Morsi has granted himself quasi-divine, unchecked powers, writes the Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswani. Also, Arabic-language editorials on the Brotherhood's purging of the media, and the shameful abandonment of the Palestinians.

With the constitutional declaration announced last Thursday, Egypt's president, Mohammed Morsi, has set aside the will of the people who elected him to office and turned into an anti-revolution dictator by granting himself quasi-divine, unchecked powers, wrote Egyptian novelist Alaa Aswani in an article in the Cairo-based paper Al Masry Al Youm.

Some say there is nothing wrong in allowing President Morsi sweeping powers for a few months. But there is no such thing as a temporary dictator. All tyrannical rulers claimed to be compelled to take temporary and exceptional measures, and then held power forever. The Free Officers Movement vowed to return to their barracks in six months but stayed in power for many years.

Mr Morsi's excuse of being forced to take exceptional measures to fight the old regime and protect the revolution rings hollow. Freedom, rule of law and respect for the people's will are human goals in themselves, and any achievement that comes via dictatorship is unacceptable, the writer said.

Had Mr Morsi wanted to achieve the goals of the revolution, he would have done it already. But the truth is that has been serving the Muslim Brotherhood, not the revolution. He made many promises yet none were fulfilled. So there is no reason to believe him when he claims he is going to be "a short-term dictator".

Mr Morsi issued the constitutional declaration in obedience to the Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau, which deemed that the organisation's interests would be better served by appeasing, rather than fighting, the old regime. The Brotherhood preferred to retain the Mubarak government's establishments provided they would be loyal to the Brotherhood instead of the Military Council and Mr Mubarak.

The calculations of the Brotherhood leaders were that a deal with the ancien regime would allow them to hold power forever. But upon discovering that the old regime was plotting, and fomenting chaos, to topple Mr Morsi, they made the pre-emptive blow of the constitutional declaration.

"This dictatorial constitutional declaration came against the backdrop of a power struggle between the Brotherhood and the old regime," the writer said. "The revolution, in my opinion, has nothing to do with this conflict. All we seek is to prevent the creation of a new dictator."

Mr Morsi's only way out is to withdraw his declaration and abide by the rulings of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Even if elected, any leader who tramples on the law loses legitimacy.

All Egyptians must fight to bring down the tyrannical declaration by all means of pressure except violence, which would spell disasters for the nation. Egypt's great revolution must remain peaceful and weary of Mubarak's holdovers, who are using the same discourse but for entirely different goals, the writer said.

Muslim Brotherhood's attack on the media

The recent "revolutionary" decisions of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi included items of an alarming nature that pertain to the "purging of the media". Hence, it is no secret that media is at the forefront of the battle in Egypt nowadays, said the Lebanese columnist Diana Mkalled in an opinion article in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

Only a few months earlier, the Muslim Brotherhood leader described the media as "Pharaoh's sorcerers", a designation that Brotherhood supporters have since used to justify attacks on newspapers, jamming TV channels and prosecuting journalists.

"Satellite media is the number one source for shaping Egyptian public opinion. This is precisely what the Brotherhood leadership is attempting to control, and it seems that this group will stop at nothin to make it happen," she wrote.

Egypt's horizon is charged with violence and fascism hiding behind popular sentiment and feeding on the eagerness of those who believe that the call for enlightenment passes through bloodshed, and that the way to heaven goes through violence and thuggery, the writer added.

"In truth, the recent decisions are a blow to the Brotherhood and Islamic movements. They are a reflection of the group's failure to put forward an acceptable form of rule. Political Islam fails to address the issue of liberties, which would eventually trigger its downfall," she concluded.

Prosecutions could follow recognition

The opposition of the UK, the US and Germany to the Palestinian bid for international recognition as an observer, non-member state at the United Nations is shameful by all standards.

It betrays unethical, inhumane and anti-Arab political conduct, opined Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi.

"It is difficult to fathom such aggressive attitudes from the very countries that have always urged the Palestinians to relinquish violence and respect international treaties. These are the countries that have promised the Palestinians a real, independent state, only to object to a mere symbolic recognition," he said.

As soon as Palestine is granted observer status at the UN General Assembly, president Mahmoud Abbas should immediately apply for membership at the International Criminal Court.

This would allow Palestine to legally pursue Israeli war criminals according to the facts and evidence mentioned in the Goldstone report.

The recognition that Palestine is expected to receive and the favourable change in the positions of France, Spain and Portugal at the last minute "wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the heroic resistance in Gaza", the writer added.


* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk